30 March 2021
Balkans Group has published the policy report “Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans”. This report presents an analysis of the most debated and unfolding agendas on regional cooperation: the Regional Economic Area, the so-called “mini-Schengen” and the Common Regional Market.
The countries of the Western Balkan Six share the ambition of joining the European Union and have expressed a willingness and desire for regional cooperation. Nevertheless, unresolved conflicts and bilateral disputes have led to prevailing and significant mistrust in the region which at times is a source of instability, undermining cooperation and progress on regional initiatives. If this deep distrust between the Western Balkans Six exists, it will be challenging to achieve proper regional economic integration and with that, also EU integration.
The Western Balkans will have to work on many fronts, including resolving bilateral issues and improving relationships with one another, as the main prerequisite for progress on regional cooperation. In addition, implementation capacities will need to be improved and regional cooperation will need to be higher on the policy agenda for the governments of Western Balkans countries.
This report is supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The views and analysis in this report are solely of the Balkans Group and do not reflect the views of the donor.
Read the full report here.